It’s difficult to stop saying no to your toddler who is starting to explore around the house. Trash can digging, “no!”; trying to open cabinets with cleaning chemicals inside, “no!”; trying to open the basement door, “no!”; reaching for the cable box and trying to pull it from the cables, “no!”; as a mom, you end up saying no more than ten times per day to your toddler!
My first reaction when I try to prevent him of doing something is to say no, but as soon as I find myself almost pronouncing the negative word, I try to alternate my reaction with a much kind gesture like distracting his attention with something attractive to him, like the sound of a toy, playing run and hide or peekaboo, hold him and taking him to the living room where he can play safely but all these doesn’t work sometimes. So, how can a mom stop saying no and focus his child attention into a more positive behaviour?
Today, I run across a comment in a Montessori group I follow on facebook and I think that the author, Isabel Moralexo, is right, so I will share it with you. It talks about the importance of language when addressing a toddler to educate him in the learning curve of consequences, without punishments or gifts and trying to avoid the “no” word. Read and if you find this suggestions useful, use them.
- When getting out of the house: “I need you to… (leave your toy there, put on your shoes…)
- When we eat: “We must… (be seated, wear the bib…)
- When he kicks, hits or bites: “I like caresses” (and I give him one), “I like kisses” (and I give him one), “I like hugs” (and I proceed); “Kicks are for the water, to swim, to kick the ball”.
- When he tries to climb where it’s not safe: I inform him about the function of that piece of furniture “The drawer is meant to keep things, the table is meant for eating” and I kindly ask him to come back down.
- When he answers “No!”, if it’s for his own safety, I correct the situation, otherwise if he is not obedient, I say: “Ok, let’s do this (what I needed him to do) and then something fun for him.
- When building his patience “When we are patient and we wait, fun things happen, like (a tickle attack… or the thing that he was waiting for).
- Explaining safety issues: The knife, the car…”It’s dangerous, it can hurt you very badly” “look, you can fall” (but I usually don’t avoid the fall if it is insignificant).
- When making decisions: if possible, I try to make him choose between two things like books, clothes, games, etc.
- When teaching manners: everything goes along with a “please, thank you, excuse me, I will appreciate…”, when he says thank you voluntarily, I feel all the effort is worth it.
- When addressing his achievements avoid “Very well! or very good!” but I check out the process, the effort and my feeling about that action. “Can we try…? You did it!”
- When asking for help we say: “Team work!” and we do it together.
As you can see, it’s a matter of practicing this suggestions every day to make them a common response and communication channel between you and your child. Focusing in the positive achievements and distracting attention in the negative situations. It also helps to be firm and don’t let him/her get away with tantrums, but that’s another subject I will adress in a later post.
Hope you find this information handy. Do you apply one of these suggestions at home or how do you address your kids education? I would love to read your comments below.